Sh'ion and blue Corokith
The Road So Far!
It all began at the Healer Hall at Blue Shale Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Shaion – a young girl of 13 Turns, dreaming of becoming a blue rider.
Shaion was born the daughter of two Master Healers at the Southern Healerhall, Blue Shale Hold. She was treating minor injuries even before she was formally apprenticed to the Craft. But frustration with the drudgery of the long apprenticeship made Shaion an undistinguished crafter, lacking the focus or passion demanded by the Healerhall. And then, in early 102, brown rider P'lian came to the Healer Hall complaining of frostbitten fingers. Shaion was assigned to treat the minor condition. But P'lian's Sparth – despite his colour, a budding Search-sensitive dragon – insisted that Shaion was a likely sort for candidacy. And a sevenday later, Shaion arrived at Madellon Weyr, joining the candidate pool for senior queen Shimpath's first clutch by her new mate Muzzanth.
As a candidate, Shaion was assigned a bunkmate – Jopha, a mischievous young Weyrbred girl prone to getting herself into trouble, who would soon become her closest friend in the Weyr. She also got to know many of her fellow candidates, including the Weyrbred twins Leover and Leoguy; Zielaph, the nephew of a Madellon bronze rider; and Arina, a level-headed young woman from Jessaf who'd stood at the previous Hatching.
But she also made an enemy – Thippia, a foul-mouthed girl from the Seacraft – who took a firm disliking to Shaion! Backed up by her crony Berrin, Thippia became the thorn in Shaion's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.
The dragons' hum woke Jopha and Shaion on 102.03.17. Following a brief run-in with Thippia, the pair joined the rest of the candidates for a morning lecture. The Weyrlingmaster, L'stev, gave the whole cohort – increased by three late Searchees to a total of thirty-five – strict instructions about pre-Hatching preparations, including eating, drinking, bathing – and in some cases, getting a decent haircut – and then turned the group loose for the morning. Before Shaion left, Jopha – whose Impression robe was sadly overlarge for her petite frame – recruited Shaion's help in getting it adjusted by her nemesis Shookana in the mending room.
The one-armed green rider and the thieving queen
Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Shaion was flagged down by M'shen – a green rider with one arm, a fire-lizard queen – and a problem. His queen, Squiffy, had stolen several pieces of the Weyrwoman's jewellery, and hidden it around the Weyr. M'shen recruited Shaion to find it. The quest took Shaion all over Madellon, from kitchens to lake to infirmary – but in the end she succeeded in reuniting the Weyrwoman's jewellery set, to general acclaim.
Respecting her elders
In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Shaion encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Shaion to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Shaion duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.
Gifted a small pot of the salve, Shaion offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Shaion encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Shaion – especially after she solved all three of her fiendish riddles!
Shaion met G'kalte – a brown rider and Wingsecond, not to mention Weyrwoman Valonna's weyrmate – in the Bowl, and was quickly recruited by him to help with a diplomatic matter. G'kalte had been tasked with delivering two gifts from Valonna to her Southern counterpart Weyrwoman Karika – but he'd been summoned away to collect his own grandmother, Lady Coffleby, for the Hatching.
He asked Shaion to figure out which of the seven Southern dragons visiting Madellon were the correct pair to hand over Karika's gifts. And while G'kalte's brown, Archidath, offered Shaion some intelligence on the Southern seven, his advice was somewhat garbled! Nonetheless, Shaion unravelled Archidath's confusing suggestions and got the right packages to the right dragons – without being growled at!
A Masterful order
In the dining hall, Shaion met her fellow candidate Zielaph, who'd been tasked by his somewhat dim uncle, bronze rider Fr'ton, with delivering a complicated drinks order to a group of Master Crafters. Zielaph had information about their names, beverages, crafts, and fire-lizards – but not in any sensible order!
Luckily for him, Shaion solved the puzzle of Fr'ton's confusing notes adeptly, delivering the correct drinks to the correct Masters, and earning a handsome tip in the process. Shaion even shared the largesse with Zielaph, who then introduced her to Fr'ton – who, having Impressed a bronze in spite of his less than boundless promise, gave Shaion a certain confidence in her own prospects!
A rising problem
Shaion encountered both Soleigh, whose green Bristath was preparing to rise near the lake, and her weyrmate Maris, who was getting very drunk in the dining hall on account of her fears that Soleigh was having an affair with a blue rider, G'tron. Shaion's intervention successfully got rid of G'tron, whose Imdoth was very sweet indeed on Bristath, from the mating flight – not to mention G'pellas, another blue rider, needed in the Harper ensemble – and reconciled the two green riders.
Madellon's kitchens – the heart of the Weyr, and domain of Headwoman Crauva – provided Shaion with the opportunity to show off her work ethic before the Hatching. A round of chores duly pleased Crauva. And the kitchen was also the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Shaion to find for his warming salve.
Eggs and baskets
A visit to the Archives led to a meeting with Tarshe, Madellon's Weyrwoman Second. When Shaion expressed an interested in looking up some Weyr records, Tarshe offered her the loan of a glowbasket – on the proviso that she return it afterwards. Which – mindful of not offending such an important personage of the Weyr – Shaion did!
A blue lady
Coming across T'gala, Pern's only female blue rider, bathing her Heppeth in the lake, Shaion offered her assistance – which T'gala gladly accepted. Getting some first-hand advice about what it took for T'gala to Impress a blue dragon was an opportunity Shaion didn't want to pass up.
Knowing of Jopha's chequered history with Shookana, mistress of the Weyr's mending room, Shaion approached the task of having her robe adjusted with considerable caution. Realising that falsehood would be the wrong approach, Shaion went to Shookana with the truth – and a gift of popcorn. And while Shaion doubted if Shookana and Jopha will ever be friends, the restoration of her Hatching robe to a suitable length did a great deal for her self-confidence!
Mindful of the Weyrlingmaster's orders to be smart for the Hatching, Shaion visited Madellon's resident barber – green rider Z'fell – for a trim. Very conscious of her dignity, Shaion ensured she came away with a cut she actually liked.
A slithery customer
Early in the day, Shaion found out about a secret way into the Hatching Ground via storeroom that might allow her a sneaky peek at the eggs before the Hatching. Successfully entering the combination to the lock on the storeroom door, and suitably equipped with a glowbasket, she crawled into a confusing maze of passages.
By a stroke of ill luck, Shaion strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Shaion was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately she evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.
Having survived her encounter with the snake, Shaion crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground!
When it came to the Hatching, Shaion had to wait for every other dragonet to Hatch and choose a rider before the gleaming blue egg Hatched to reveal the bright indigo-blue hatchling who would choose her, naming himself Corokith.
A friend in me
And Shaion wasn't the only lucky one. To her delight, Jopha also Impressed, becoming the rider of a big emerald-green hatchling, Deimoth.
Whatever happened to Thippia?
Thippia's victimisation of Shaion had serious consequences – for Thippia. Not everyone would have tattled on her the way Shaion did, but her complaints about the other girl, together with L'stev's already thin opinion of Thippia, had the desired effect. Directly before the Hatching, L'stev ejected Thippia from the candidate pool!
After the Hatching
"Corokith" by Emily Holland
The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Shaion on her Impression, but it was P'lian, ecstatic that Sparth's very first Search had yielded an Impression, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Corokith's first meal. That was Shaion's first opportunity to speak to Jopha, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Corokith and Deimoth.
It wasn't long before Corokith's personality started to become evident. The big indigo-blue dragonet, the largest of his colour, showed his alert and serious nature from the beginning, demonstrating a high degree of focus for a blue.
With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.
Another friend Shaion made along the way – a young Weyrbred candidate, Brithie, whom Shaion had encountered in a sudden crisis of confidence directly before the Hatching – hailed Shaion at the barracks – crediting her with her successful Impression of a tiny bottle-green dragonet, Epatanth!
Meeting the Weyrleader
As Shaion and Jopha wiped the worst of the blood and sand from their tired new dragonets, the Weyrleader, T'gat, came to inspect both girls' dragonets – and in particular to remark upon Shaion's unusual Impression of a blue. T'gat further enquired if Shaion would like to elide her name, as T'gala had done, or not. Shaion took up the opportunity to rename herself, and after a brief conference with Corokith, Shaion gave the Weyrleader her new name – Sh'ion, rider of blue Corokith!
Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Corokith's and Deimoth's newborn itchiness, Sh'ion and Jopha headed into the girls' barracks to claim the billets that would be theirs for the next Turn. Choosing adjacent cots, the two new weyrlings got their dragonets settled on the couches that they would take months to grow into. But there was no time for them to sit and admire their new dragons. The Weyrlingmaster soon came along to give them their new weyrling shoulder-knots, before chivvying them off to the Hatching feast!
The Hatching feast
Sh'ion and Jopha soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk Sh'ion had helped during the day greeted her with warm congratulations as she hunted through the throng – but, at last, she found her family.
Sh'ion's father, a loud man in normal times, was positively bellowing with pleasure at Sh'ion's Impression – albeit with a certain disappointment that his daughter wouldn't be continuing in the Healercraft. And he embarrassed both his daughter, and his long-suffering wife, still further when the Weyrleaders came to drink a toast to Sh'ion and Corokith – remarking, very loudly, on the parentage of Valonna's soon-to-arrive first baby!
The rest of the evening passed in a blur for Sh'ion, and it came as a relief when the Weyrlingmaster ordered all the new weyrlings back to the barracks for a good night's sleep. But en route to bed, Sh'ion was flagged down by a Weyrbrat, Emry, bringing the message that Weyrwoman Second Tarshe wanted to see her in the Archives.
Setting the record straight
Tarshe, tasked by the Weyrwoman with converting candidate documentation into weyrling records, went through Sh'ion's background with her – including much of what she had got up to on the morning of the Hatching – for good and ill. She offered Sh'ion some advice about paying attention to her new classmates and surroundings, lest she fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, and made some observations on Corokith.
A close encounter
On her way back to the barracks , Sh'ion had two peculiar encounters – first, with Tarshe's queen, Berzunth, who seemed quite agitated by one of the visiting dragons on the Rim; and then with a mysterious hooded figure, smelling strongly of what Sh'ion would later realise was firestone, who called her by name – and gave her a curious wooden box.
"The Watchful Queen" by Chris S. Baily
Back at the barracks, Sh'ion decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.
Returning at last to Corokith – billeted between Jopha's Deimoth and a pretty blue-green dragonet – Sh'ion was too tired to examine the strange wooden box very closely, and put it in her clothes' chest for later examination. But even as she went to sleep – a dragonrider at last, her blue beside her – Sh'ion was struck with a deep sense of foreboding. Who was the mysterious dragonrider in the hooded cloak? And what was the significance of the strange wooden box?
Find out more about Shaion's Impression here. Sh'ion and Corokith's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
Find out more about Shaion's Impression here. Sh'ion and Corokith's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON
I travelled The Road So Far!
OUR ROB, OR ROSS
I received a mysterious box!
A HORSE WITH A NAME
I have a name and it's a good name and I don't need to fix my name. Probably.
I make quite a strange match with Corokith!
SUGAR AND SPICE
I've been a very nice person (so far)!
EBONY AND IVORY
Corokith and I agreed on something very important!
Corokith and I agreed on something quite important!